Gen Z Merch Ideas: Engaging the Next Generation

April 11, 2024

Get inspired with cool merch ideas your Gen Z audience will appreciate!

Looking for cool merch ideas to stop your Generation Z audience in their tracks? As the second generation after Gen X, these digital nomads were born between 1997 and 2012. Why is that important? To put this in perspective, Amazon Prime launched in 2005, Facebook was introduced to the public in 2006, and the first iPhone was sold in 2007. So it’s important to know, this generation is smart, tech savvy, and innovative, with a heart for sustainability. 

So when it comes to finding the best branded merch ideas, we can help you find the ones your Gen Z will love! Whether you're seeking display concepts for your online marketing or Gen Z-centric shirts featuring DIY band merchandise ideas, we've got you covered with the trendiest swag for the younger generation.

While many Gen Z products resemble merchandise for older generations, it's the design trends unique to Gen Z that truly set them apart and transform them into more innovative merch concepts. Think vibrant colors, nostalgic 90s and 2000s aesthetics, and, of course, distinctive band merchandise ideas to keep up with current trends. Just one look at our top-selling merchandise items for Gen Z, and you'll notice familiar favorites like tees, hoodies, keychains, drinkware, hats, and more, all infused with a fresh, youthful energy.

‍Photo courtesy of Anti Social Club

20 Unique Custom Merch Ideas

1. A Cool Hoodie.  

Who can resist a great hoodie? Definitely not us, or Gen Zers for that matter. Whether you choose to customize yours with a screen-printed logo on the front, back, or down the sleeve, or choose a bold pattern or even embroidery, don’t underestimate the power of a great fit. Look for features like kangaroo pockets or a sleek modern crop for your swag for Gen Z.  

Photo courtesy of Urban Outfitters; Shown: Dickies Paxico Graphic Hoodie Sweatshirt

2. Custom Embroidered Hat 

When it comes to the business merch ideas for your Gen Z audience, think of personalized items that show off your logo. To set your merch and your branding apart, think embroidery or patches to really stand out.

These also make great good merch ideas for influencers and creators.


Photo courtesy of FWRD and Kaixxo; Shown: Casablanca and Vintage Baseball Hat


3. Travel Bottle Sets

‍Did you know Gen Z has emerged as the sustainability generation? It’s true! According to the, most of Generation Z prefers environmentally friendly brands—so much so, they’re willing to pay 10% more to buy sustainable items. Furthermore, 3 out of 4 Gen Zers prefer sustainability to brand names. 

So, if you’re looking for really good merch ideas, eco-friendly swag items and gifts, like this stylish and reusable travel set from S’Well, are definite crowd pleasers!  TSA carry-on approved, this set makes traveling easier and the bottles are made from durable, lightweight and recyclable aluminum for a win win!

Shown: S'well Azurite Travel Bottle Set

4. Custom Laptop Sleeve

Not just any laptop case will do. When it comes to unique merch ideas targeted to Gen Z, think sleek, colorful and fun details. Talk to your Gemnote rep for ideas on how you can create a custom laptop sleeve that’s sure to get noticed!

Photo courtesy of Coach; Shown: Coachtopia Loop Quilted Cloud Laptop Sleeve

5. A Custom Fanny Pack

Bring on the fun and the color! When it comes to matching your brand, there’s definitely a fanny pack just for your company! Talk to your Gemnote rep for color options, customizing ideas and more to bring your cool merch ideas to life!

Shown: Cotopaxi Del Dia Hip Pack 

6. Fashion Forward Tees

Gen Z items don’t have to be over-priced or hard to create. Just look for features like soft fabrications, cool branding, and more for the best merch items. Tee shirts also make excellent band merch display ideas and can even be designed in unisex styles for more cost savings. 

Photo courtesy of Urban Outfitters; Shown: Katin graphic tee

7. A Selfie Ringlight

As you probably know, good lighting is everything! As for capturing that perfect pic every time? Don’t leave lighting to chance! When it comes to unique custom merch Gen Z will love, a ring light is known for staying in the spotlight. 

Shown: Selfie Ring Light

8. Customizable Socks

Branded merch ideas shouldn’t blow your budget. That’s one reason socks make excellent merch ideas for small business companies. For the best pairs, look for features like soft organic cotton and make sure you create custom promotional merch ideas that match your brand. 

Shown: Conscious Step Beige Lemons

9. Reusable Totes 

Custom reusable totes make for some of the best merch items. Plus, they’re another environmentally friendly and cost saving option that’s sure to please not just your Gen Z audience but other generations as well! Just look for styles like these from Baggu that are lightweight and compact for shipping and can be customized to show off your brand. 

Shown: Baggu Totes

10. A Customized Knit Hat

Beanies, ski hats, knitted hats… whatever you call them, one thing is for sure… they are just as functional as they are fun to brand! And when it comes to your Gen Z promotional merch ideas, it’s an easy win! 

Photo courtesy of Ninja; Shown: Custom merch from

11. Mini Speaker 

Equipped with a compact yet powerful Bluetooth speaker, you can ensure your recipient enjoys uninterrupted music nearly around the clock. Opt for a sleek option like the Mino + Alu speaker by Lexon, offering a choice of 15 vibrant colors to suit any style.

Shown: Lexon Mino + Alu Small Bluetooth Speaker

12.  A Stanley Flowstate Tumbler

For cool merch ideas that everyone, not just your Zoomie audience, will appreciate, look to the Stanley Flowstate Tumbler. If it looks familiar, it’s the tumbler that set the internet on fire and still has a rather cult-like following. Why the hype? It’s dishwasher safe, BPA free, fits in most cup holders, keeps drinks icy cold for days, and more. 


Shown: Stanley Flowstate Tumbler

13. Personalized Keychain

For the best custom merch that’s fun, functional, and in your budget, think keychains! Available in shapes, sizes and styles for every brand, you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to delighting your recipient! 

Need more inexpensive merch ideas for small businesses? Talk to your Gemnote rep for more great options. 


Photo courtesy of A24 Films; Shown: Embroidered A24 Keychain

14. Branded Backpack  

Branded backpacks make for the best merch ideas! Whether you sell them in your store, on your site, or offer them to your employees in a swag store, they’re just as functional as they are enviable! And, with the right style and branding, the same is true for your Gen Z audience! 

In addition to being a favorite among Zoomers, backpacks also make a great addition to your Employee Onboarding Kit.

Shown: Topo Designs Rover Pack 

15. The Perfect Tech Accessory 

Just like peanut and jelly, eggs and bacon, swag and customization, Gen Z and tech go hand in hand! For the perfect match, out-of-the-box merch ideas that offer portable convenience are always in style! Like this PopSocket + card holder that attaches to your recipient’s wallet thanks to the Magsafe design. 

Shown: PopWallet for MagSafe 

‍16. Branded Stickers

Want to turn everyday business merch ideas into out-of-the-box merch ideas your Gen Zers won’t soon forget? Stickers are fun, inexpensive, and easy-to-create! Plus with the right design, you can create enviable Gen Z swag with major sticking power! Perfect for adding to custom tumblers, laptops, and more!

Shown: Clever Stickers by Big Moods 

17. A Cool AirPod Charging Case

Whether it’s a band merch display ideas you’re after or something more tech-y to add to your store, a sleek AirPod charging case that helps Gen Z  stay connected is always a good idea.  

Shown: Native Union Curve Case for AirPods


18. Colorful, Custom Napkins

Instead of single use napkins, why not make your Gen Z audience’s day with reusable napkins that are perfect for displaying. With a world of colors and designs available, finding your favorite style to show off your brand is half the fun! Talk to your Gemnote rep for ideas.  

Shown: Areaware Kaleido Napkins

‍19. Cool Crewneck Sweatshirt

What’s the secret to fantastic corporate apparel? Beyond outstanding features—which are undeniably crucial—it's your company's branding that truly matters and sets your items apart. So think outside of the box, with personalization down the sleeve or pairings like matching socks or totes that will keep your Gen Z recipient talking long after they receive their custom merch. . 

Photo courtesy of Urban Outfitters; Shown: Parks Project Preserve & Enjoy Crew Neck Sweatshirt

20.  Waterproof Power Bank

Need proof that not all power banks are created equally? My Charge has you covered with their rough, rugged and dependable charger bank that can withstand elements like rain and  dust. It’s even drop resistant. Perfect for keeping digital nomads —like Gen Zers— on the go!

Shown: My Charge Waterproof Power Bank

More out of the-box merch ideas

Companies might find it daunting to pinpoint the best-selling merchandise items for Gen Z, also known as Zoomers. So if you need more ideas for Gen Z shirts, accessories, tumblers, tech, and more, we can help! This is just the tip of the iceberg! Not only can your Gemnote Rep help you find Gen Z shirt trends and other customizable products, but they can help you with all of your custom gifts and corporate swag kits for customers, employees, events, and more!

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